History of LSD and Magic Mushrooms
Hallucinogens are drugs that can cause hallucinations and can change the way you see, think, or feel. They can also cause you to feel out of control and disconnected from your body. What scientists initially wanted to use for medicinal purposes like with LSD, magic mushrooms, peyote and MDMA ended up being an easily available way for those in the 1950s and 1960s to get high.OK
LSD is a hallucinogenic drug that changes your thoughts, feelings, and awareness of your surroundings like seeing or hearing things that do not exist. This drug can also cause you to lose a grip on reality and cause suicidal thoughts. LSD was first discovered in 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann who was employed by chemical company Sandoz to research and develop chemical compounds based on ergot, a fungus with medicinal properties. He mixed lysergic acid with diethylamine, a derivative of ammonia that was abbreviated to LSD-25.
Animals when tested exhibited unusually excited behavior but no medicinal benefits. Several years later, Hofmann made LSD again and a little bit was dropped on his skin by accident. He experienced restless and dizziness soon after. On April 14, 1943, he self-administered 250mg which is a very high dose. He was so out of it to drive that he rode his bike home from work which changed his perceptions around and felt a real zest for life. Since then, that day is called Bicycle Day as the day when Hofmann first intentionally took LSD. LSD would continue to be used on animals, friends, and himself. LSD would also be used in psychotherapy and to treat schizophrenia.
In 1947, Sandoz began to sell this hallucinogen under the name Delsid that was used for a number of medical conditions from alcoholism to schizophrenia. In the 1950s, psychiatrist Ronald Sandison used LSD to treat severe mental illness and found significant improvements. The first LSD therapy clinic at The Powick Hospital in England used to reduce anxiety, depression, and pain from cancer. In the 1950s and 1960s, a CIA covert operation under MK-ULTRA would test LSD on civilians, prisoners, and the military as they believed that communist Russia, North Korea, and China brainwashed Americans captured during The Cold War. They would even slip LSD into other people’s drinks at bars to see how they would respond. The CIA would also use LSD during their interrogations but it was proven to be unreliable. In 1964, the operation stopped as the dangerous effects of LSD became more well known.
Magic mushrooms are another hallucinogen that can cause a person to see things, hear things, and feel things that do not exist. You can experience side effects like nervousness and paranoia as well as recurrences of hallucinations. These drugs were used as early as 9,000 B.C. in North African indigenous cultures. It was called teonanácatl at the time which means “flesh of the gods.” This drug was used to help put those in a trance to communicate with the gods and produce visions of them. Mushrooms were publicized in 1957 after mycologist Robert Gordon Wasson and his wife participated in a mushroom-filled ritual held by the Mazatec tribe in South Mexico. This hallucinogen was published by Wasson in a Life Magazine article called “Seeking the Magic Mushroom” in which the magazine came up with the phrase. Wasson’s colleague Roger Heim who got help from Hofmann extracting psilocybin and psilocin from mushrooms brought back from Mexico. This drug was soon tied to the hippie movement and was banned in the 1970s except for medicinal research. Since the 1990s, magic mushrooms have been reviewed to help with OCD, headaches, and other medical conditions.
Peyote is a spineless cactus with small protrusions used for hallucinogenic purposes. It is derived from the peyote cactus that grows in southwestern United States and Mexico, the San Pedro cactus, or the Peruvian Torch cactus. You can experience chills and shivering as well as heightened sensory experiences, frightening hallucinations, paranoia, and altered space and time perception. This drug is one of the oldest psychedelic drugs discovered by the Aztecs of pre-Columbian Mexico. It spread from Mexico to North America and other Native American groups to treat illnesses, communicate with religious deities, and for religious ceremonies. In 1918, The Native American Church was formed to be able to use peyote in their ceremonies. It was not until the Supreme Court made peyote illegal with the case Employment Division v. Smith 494 U.S. 872.
MDMA is a psychoactive stimulant that increases the release of dopamine and serotonin. You can experience increased euphoria, energy, and sexual desire. When the drugs wear off, you are left with a depletion of serotonin in the brain which leads to depression and irritability. It was discovered in 1912 by Anton Kollisch who was an employee at the German pharmaceutical company, Merck. He was originally trying to create a vasoconstrictor to stop bleeding and discovered MDMA instead. It was originally patented in 1914 by the company but it was never taken further since no medicinal purposes were proven. It was discovered again by American chemist Alexander Shulgin who published its psychoactive properties in The Pharmacology of Hallucinogens in 1978. Despite its ban on May 31, 1985, it is still a popular drug used in parties and popular nightclubs. It is important to seek treatment for hallucinogen addiction immediately before you can no longer distinguish fantasy and reality.
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